Thursday, 26 February 2015

Gifts

I've just met up with a distant cousin for lunch and she brought me some lovely flowers. They're still in bud and I shall enjoy looking at them for several days.  

I love giving things.  The pleasure of giving is part of who I am.  However, sometimes I have to restrain myself if I feel that the recipient will feel obliged to give something back.  Sometimes the best thing to give is pleasure to the donor by joyfully receiving what they have chosen.  I love receiving gifts, especially small, spontaneous ones, but feel sad when the pleasure of gift giving (and receiving) becomes little more than a tit for tat. 

The gifts which I most enjoy giving are those which are home made.  In the summer that is often a few flowers or some beans from my garden, especially if I know the recipient doesn’t have such home grown treats.  In the autumn and winter I can give jams and chutneys from my kitchen.  Sometimes I can give something I have sewn - tote bags are always appreciated.

Next week I am hoping to visit a friend whom I see only once a year.  She is quite a bit older than me and she has Parkinson’s which she is finding very hard to cope with.  She gets very emotional when I phone so now I just send letters and I hope I am not distressing her in that she can’t reply.  She and her husband used to come and stay with me for short breaks but that is no longer possible.  I have decided to take a few photos of my house as she has never seen it.  I know she will like to have something of me to keep after I have left her. 


Does anyone else have ideas for small gifts?  

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Porn



That made you look interested didn’t it?  Well, don’t get too excited.  I’m talking about kitchen porn.  The Lakeland catalogue arrived today.

Easter egg moulds
For any non UK readers I’d better explain that Lakeland is a chain of shops selling every gadget you could possibly think of to “enhance” your home and especially your kitchen.  The catalogue which arrived this morning has the kit for making your own Easter eggs on the front cover.  
Henrietta Hen


Easter eggs not your thing?  No worries, you could get a hen filled with shortbread 


Easter pasta




 or special Easter pasta.


Maybe it’s not chocolate versions of wildlife that you’re thinking about.  Afraid of spiders? 
Spider catcher
Limey
For £9.99 you can have your very own battery operated spider catcher.  And if while you are in the bathroom catching the arachnids you notice lime scale around the taps you could get a special silicone bag to fill with vinegar and hang in the tap so that scourge of bathroom life can be banished as well.

Vitamix aspire
You might want to do some fancy cooking but you’re not sure what?  Well, if you buy a dual purpose ice cream and soup maker you will have 1p change from £400 to buy the ingredients. 




I love Lakeland!  But I’d need a house with a barn attached to store all the goodies they sell.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Dream on

I’m in the mood for a bit more dreaming and my mind has wandered to the flower beds.

Cosmos Gazebo
For the past few years I have had some lovely cosmos.  The feathery foliage looked good in the garden and the bright, simple flowers are a delight.  However, last year I bought plants and wasn't any too pleased with the results as they grew to four feet - too high for my taste.  This year I have bought Gazebo Mized which the packet assures me will grow to only two feet.  Here's hoping!
Nicotiana Eau de Cologne

Nicotiana are also a must for me. They are a lovely cottage garden type of flower although sadly I've not been able to find the lovely scented varieties.  I'm going to try Eau de cologne mixed this year to see if that can be remedied. 


Sweet pea fragrantissima
I also want to grow my sweet peas from seed this year.  Again fragrance is essential so I'm going to try  Fragrantissima.  

Monday, 23 February 2015

Dreaming



I had a lovely surprise present this morning – ten seed potatoes!  I realise that might not be everyone’s idea of bliss but ten seed potatoes are potentially ten wonderful harvests.  And even more, they are the cue for a bit of dreaming.
Pink Fir Apples

The weather is a bit iffy but we are nearly at the end of February.  Next week it will be March and then the garden will be calling.  What shall I grow this year?



Potatoes obviously.  The ten I have been given are Pink Fir Apples but I’ve got International Kidney, Vivaldi and Swift as well and I shall look for a couple more.  Even the names are triggers for dreams!  I shall grow some Nantes carrots to eat as lovely tender finger sized vegetables and I’ve got some seed for Paris Market, a round carrot which is delicious when eaten at radish size.
Paris Market carrots

Nantes carrots

Broad beans









There will have to be broad beans – they’re just about my favourite vegetable.  I haven’t decided which type yet but they will be going in soon. A little later runner beans will go in.  I’m told that they were originally grown in English gardens for their flowers and there’s no wonder at that.  They add height and interest to my plot.

Runner beans
The next couple of weeks will indeed be a time of dreaming – I haven’t even thought about flowers or salads yet.  Then will come hard work and waiting.  Finally, bliss – the joy of home grown veg!


Yes, spring is on its way!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Well, it was peaceful today . . .


I went to this lovely little church at Melton Ross today.  It's called The Church of the Ascension. By Lincolnshire standards it's quite a new church, dating only from 1867 but it's on the site of an older church which was destroyed by fire.  That feels slightly ironic as at this time of the year it is one of the coldest churches I have ever been in and believe me, I have been in some cold churches.

But go into the church and it is totally amazing.  The ceiling is decorated all over.  I don’t think the painting has been cleaned since the church was first built but it is still stunning.


These days Melton Ross is a calm and pretty village despite a busy main road and nearby quarry but it was not always so. According to local legend there was a bitter feud between two families, one from Melton Ross and one from the next village.  It was no minor squabble and it went on for over 200 years until in James 1 ordered that any deaths resulting from the quarrel were to be treated as murder and he had a gallows erected between the two villages.  The gallows still stand to this day.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

An inspector calls

I got inspected this week.  It feels a bit weird!

Image result for housing inspector clipart free
Actually, to be strictly honest it was my house which got inspected.  I rent my house from a charity and my excellent landlord has all houses inspected periodically to make sure that they are up to current standards and safe for older people to live in.  It’s not my housekeeping which was inspected, just my house.  For which relief, much thanks as Shakespeare said.


I wonder if we ever get past the stage of being inspected.  It starts at school with exams.  Actually I didn’t mind exams when I was at school but when I tried to sit some more as an adult I got SOOO stressed.  Then more exams to enter a profession and exams and practical inspections throughout our working lives. 

And that says nothing about the times when we just feel we are being inspected, judged or otherwise put under scrutiny.  Sometimes the world can feel like a very hostile place!

For me one of the joys of getting old is that the world actually feels less critical – or maybe I no longer care so much!  No-one can fire me from a job as I haven’t got one.  I have no need of more exams or qualifications.  Even when my house is inspected I can’t get terribly worried about it.


And that’s another joy of getting older.

Friday, 20 February 2015

A lovely day out

I’ve had one of my favourite days out today.  I’ve been making cards!

Less than twenty miles from where I live there is a lovely lady called Mandy.  (She has a blog at http://dunholmecrafter.blogspot.co.uk/)  About once a month I go to Mandy’s house and join with a group of about five ladies and together we make cards under Mandy’s none-too-strict tuition.  I love going.  It’s a lovely afternoon out with congenial company and it sorts my birthday cards for the next month.  Today I went for a double session and here are the cards I made.







Thursday, 19 February 2015

Memories and Calmness and Security

We had a lovely family lunch on Sunday and it may be that sometime I shall write up a bit more about my Grandma but for the moment, no.  I need to sit and think a little bit more.  Instead I shall write a little about my life in my own home

One thing distinguished my home from many others.  I know no Brit older than me who was born into a household where there was already a television.  My Father used to have to go away from home on business trips and a couple of months before I made my arrival in October 1951 he bought Mother a TV to keep her company when he was away.  It was not until the coronation in 1953 that TVs started to become more usual.

opening title screen
Picture Book
Every afternoon before I started schoolMother and I would settle down to “Watch with Mother”.  Mondays meant “Picture Book” and the other weekdays were “Andy Pandy”, “Bill and Ben”, “Rag, Tag and Bobtail” and “The Woodentops”.  

Image result for andy pandy
Looby Loo, Andy Pandy and Teddy
Image result for bill and ben the flowerpot men
Bill and Ben


Image result for rag tag and bobtail
Rag, Tag and Bobtail
Image result for woodentops
The Woodentops













Friday was my favourite day for the Woodentop family included The Biggest Spotty Dog You Ever Did See!  Mother would sit in the front of her armchair leaving a space behind where I would snuggle while she did her endless knitting. 

My memories of childhood are of safety and calm.  Looking back I was indeed privileged.